Life is really, really hard right now if you’re a woman in the US. The images of gang rapes that we imagine happen in less civilized, un-Christian nations happens here, we’re reminded, in fraternities and at house parties among the rich, not just on busses in India. The hordes of roaming Muslim or Mexican men who will rape us if we let them immigrate have turned out to be the white boys of Westchester, Mainline Philly, and the DC Metro area–the kind of boys we would have been lucky to land as husbands.
Some of us have always known this, of course; some of us trace our origins to the sexual violence that is part of the indigenous genocide or the Maafa. Others of us learned it from our stepfathers or priests or at frat parties. No woman escapes the violence of American patriarchy–not even the 65 women who signed off on a letter of support for Brett Kavanaugh or Rachel Mitchell, hired as a prosecutor by Republican to discredit Christine Blasey Ford. They, too, live in the shadow of sexual violence, some of them as victims, some as witnesses, some as deniers.
That solidarity used to be expressed in secret clubs of women who shared stories of abuse. Now, it’s all women. It’s both more personal and more generic, ubiquitous and also intimate. It is all men (who, by having the power our society awards to men) who can hurt us, and it is all women who are vulnerable. It does not matter what we do, because anything can be done to us for any reason. I’m reminded, again, of Catch-22 this week: Those bastards are trying to kill each of us, and it’s nothing personal.